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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 14, 2012 8:15am-9:30am EDT

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he often threatened to send me back to mexico if i didn't do well in school. >> host: was that a scary threat? >> guest: it was a scary threat because they did believe him. i didn't want to go back to mexico and i wanted to make him proud. and then another thing i felt it was that because i baked him to bring me, i felt that i owed him that. i never wanted my father just say i shouldn't have right -- brought you. >> melanie kirkpatrick and joseph kim, one of the people profiled in her boat, "escape from north korea" to discuss the experiences of north koreans who fled the country.
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this book is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> did after nine welcome to the hudson institution new york book forum to celebrate the publication of "escape from north korea: the untold story of asia's underground railroad." by senior fellow, melanie kirkpatrick. i am ken weinstein, president and ceo of hudson institute and i also like to welcome our audience watching at home on booktv and i also want to especially thank our friends at c-span for covering today's event. there are a couple of guests present today whom i would like to acknowledge. the council general of south korea in new york, ambassador song at who is here. [applause] and i'd also like to knowledge the president said the japanese deputy counsel general in new
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york. [applause] in addition it also like to note the presence of several hudson institute trustees, vice chair and jack david who is a special interest in this book as he was the first person to read it and is married to the author. and we are grateful for jack service firebird and also his involvement in this important book. lastly, to think today's distinguished panelists, jay lefkowitz, senior prager prager kirkland and ellis, george bush is unfair and human rights for korea. adrian hong, director of is his strategy and north korea, nonprofit that works for north korean human rights. a projection of north korean refugees. and joseph cham, who is a remarkable individual himself escaped from north korea at the age of 13.
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hudson institute was set at 51 years ago as a forward-looking research organization designed to think creatively about how to achieve a better future in the face of the 10 unprecedented challenges to the early 1860s. the world changed in significant way since those days are fundamental looking on it or not. our work has been shaped in part by the police to the dedicated efforts of a few determined individuals can make a significant human rights. we discussed today, "escape from north korea: the untold story of asia's underground railroad" embodies this concept. i had anticipated volume by hudson senior fellow, melanie kirkpatrick and authority received favorable reviews in "the wall street journal," weekly standard, publishers weekly, the asia times and the south korea press. the reason is simple.
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melanie kirkpatrick covers both a deeply moving can get heavy analytic account of the experiences of north koreans who risk everything to escape the world's worst tyranny. in addition, she tucks about the incredibly dedicated christian missionaries and korean-americans who helped them in their flight to freedom. not those of us who work in the policy world in washington sometimes risk becoming capitulated to the natives that an offense our senses are dulled and they no longer recognize the human consequences of tyranny and various public policies. this book, "escape from north korea," is the perfect antidote to the phenomenon. melanie does announce a masterful job introducing us to some absolutely extraordinary individuals. kim jill young who is arrested three times before a family make such freedom all because he
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simply wants the freedom to pin the music his choice. she gives us the story of stephen can come along and a businessman who was working for wal-mart, attending an underground church in chin san, who happens across a couple of north korean refugees and gets so moved by their flight that he decides is a part-time activity to help the north korean refugees escape from china. he gets arrested for his activities. he spends three years in jail before returning to the united states in deciding to dedicate his entire life to saving north koreans. you cannot possibly read this book without being profoundly moved without frankly been moved to tears and just about every single chapter. and the stories are incredible. we will go into greater detail in some of these momentarily. melanie kirkpatrick, i'm jay lefkowitz will introduce shortly uses the best of her journalist sensibilities honed in three
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decades at "the wall street journal" to highlight the human side of the tragedy of north korea and we are deeply proud and we look forward to her comments today. copies of "escape from north korea" are available for purchase at today's event for $20 melanie curt -- it would be glad to send your copy. it's also available at buy your shallow view another online booksellers to read it, discuss it and read it again. i now have a special pleasure of introducing my friend, jay lefkowitz. shea is a senior partner at kirkland and alice here in new york city. jay is a well-known commodity in the washington policy world, having served with distinction and cabinet secretary under president george h.w. bush and mr. and cabinet secretary under president george h.w. bush and mr. and cabinet secretary under president george h.w. bush and mr. and cabinet secretary under president george h.w. bush and mr. accused of what an incredible with unparalleled
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efficiency. he served with great authority and issues from stem cell research to jewish version patterns in presidential elections to human rights in north korea and such "new york times," "the wall street journal" and "washington post." he's an envoy for north korea under president george w. bush. in that position, george is known for his forthright criticism assembly of the north korean, but also china for failing to do more to assist a flight to freedom. she did not spare criticism either of the folks in foggy bottom. he was well known for criticizing state department policies that seem more concerned about preserving the six party talks on nuclear program stopping the nuclear program itself or promoting human rights in that country. but that any further ado, please give a warm hudson institute or promoting human rights in that
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country. without any further ado, please give a warm hudson institute or promoting human rights in that country. without any further ado, please give a warm hudson institute to jay lefkowitz. >> thank you for the very warm and gracious introduction. it's a very pleasure to be here today for what promises to be a fascinating discussion because we have three really exemplary presenters. i'm going to introduce our keynote speaker, melanie kirkpatrick first. she would give some introductory remarks about the boat when influenced her to write the book and some of the salient features from the book, and then i'll introduce arthur to presenters, adrian hong and joseph kim. and after they speak, we will open the room up to questions. melanie, as many of you know is now a senior fellow along with her husband, her institute husband, jack at the hudson institute. but before that, melanie was for
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many years as the team editorial page writer at "the wall street journal" editorial board. she wrote editorials and an article ranging on all subjects from domestic to foreign policy. but in her role as deputy editor of page, she had a keen focus on foreign policy and really ticked to the issue of north korea human rights. early in her career, melanie spent 10 years in asia working for "the wall street journal" asia and hong kong and had another kick where she lived and worked in tokyo. a masters degree from the university of toronto. the book of melanie is written is absolutely riveting.
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it's more like a house in gmail or tom clancy thriller than it does the work of nonfiction. she tells an incredibly powerful story about a human rights and a human tragedy. the tragedy that really is modern north korea. she tells the story through the eyes of many of the participants in this drama. the refugees, one of whom, joseph kim, is here today. one of only 175, 180 north korean refugees who made it to the united states in safety. she tells the story through the eyes of the worker of the underground railroad, people involved in christian relief organizations both here in the united states and in northeastern china worked clandestinely and at great risk to their own minds, trying to open up a channel for north korean refugees to escape. north korea, as you know, it's
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probably the most repressive regime in the world at this stage. it is a place where millions of north korean citizens have literally been starved by an intentional government policy over the last 10 to 15 years. it is a place that houses and has housed for well over a decade a series of weblog like concentration camps, where political prisoners are tortured, sometimes executed for crimes no more serious than listening to a foreign radio brought cast, read the bible or disrespecting a picture of the dear leader. it's really a chilling book and a book they should be must-read for anyone who cares about human rights or who cares about the political environment and the foreign-policy concerns that relate to north korea.
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as a general rule, u.s. north korea policy follows a very similar and repetitive pattern. there are provocations by the regime, missile launchers, underground nuclear tests or the occasional thinking of the south korean boat. these are followed by threats of sanctions by the international community and then of course as with the recalcitrant child, the promise of better behavior, whereupon the international community comes back and provides more heat to the regime, in many respects continue to prop up the regime. and of course the aid that is received almost never reaches the people for whom it is destined. it is siphoned off by the military, sold at hard currency. this is several questions for policymakers and in the course of our discussion today, i want
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to plant a few seeds we can come back to. for particular areas that i think are worth discussing and thinking about. one is, what is the effect if any of sanctions, monetary sanctions on the regime like this? we all remember what happened about six, seven years ago when the united states froze $25 million of north korean assets in the t-tango delta asia issue. an enormous impact is largely as a result is that the north korea made some significant conceptions to return to six party talk, which as soon as the money started falling, they reneged on. the second fascinating policy issue is the rule in china and all of this. i'm the one hand, in flagrant violation of international law, china hands back refugee repatriates to north korea, where they are sent to be
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tortured and sometimes executed in the political concentration camp. and yet obviously, we know that without china turning a blind eye, much of the great work of the underground railroad couldn't take place. so that's a puzzle and a question for policymakers. the role of international humanitarian aid to the regime, one may not do so much of it is going to be siphoned off raises another interesting moral and political questions. and finally, the overall united states policy objective, lisa stated policy objective over the last decade and a half of reunifying the peninsula, when in fact it appears that all of the parties most central to policymaking in north korea and those nations that may attract even have more to say about the pass of north korea don't really want to peninsula to be reunited for rational reasons on their own part.
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these are all the questions that are raised, but they are raised by melanie in a book that is not fundamentally a policy book. it is a book about human suffering, a book about human tragedy and a book about here with them and heroism by the escapees. i want to introduce, melanie kirkpatrick. [applause] >> thank you, jay for the warm introduction and thank you for your help over the years since i have researched this topic. i also want to see thank you to the hudson institute, can, and my husband, jack, who was my first editor for welcoming me here today. and i'd also give a special thanks to adrian hong and joseph
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kim or here to help me talk about my book in the serious issues that jay just outlined. they are both heroes of mine, rescuer and rescued. and it's wonderful that they were able to join us. i would also like to very briefly also thank, since this is one of the first offense i've been doing since the book came out, i would like to thank my agent lin shu and glen hartley who are here today and were marvelous in finding the book feature with a calm with encounter books. i think a culture books for publishing the book, let me give my special thanks to matt ataturk, molly powell. i remember the exact moment when i became aware of the suffering of the north korean role. the year was 1981 or 1982 and i was living in hong kong, where i was working for the asian "wall street journal." i was the op-ed editor and one
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day a submission crossed my desk. it was written by an italian journalist who is living a multiband called peking. he had secured a very rare visa to go to pyongyang and had written an article for his publication about it and said his translation of hoping that "the wall street journal" published it. and i was really blown away by it. it is completely eye-opening, especially as description of the public were shut of kim il-sung who is the leader of north korea. it was like reading a chapter from 1984. george orwell's vision had come to life a few years earlier and the democratic people's republic of korea. i couldn't get by the line of the italian journalist article out of my head. when i got off the plane and
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peking, i kiss the ground, happy to be back in a free country, a free country, china in 1981? i've been there. i knew china was sent brave. was it really possible that there could be a place that north korea could be worse? 30 years later, we know the answer to that question. north korea is the world's most repressive state. the people are the sites that they can regime, which controls every aspect of their life, even whether they get to be. the vision is banned. there's no rule of law and perceived political infractions are met with harsh punishment. punishment i should add that it's often meted out for three generations of a person's family. a political offender knows that when he goes to prison, his parents and children will probably go with him.
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there are probably about 200,000 north koreans today in the gulags and more than a million, perhaps as high as 2 million have arty type they are. the reason we know all of this and much, much more is thanks to the testimonies of koreans who have escaped. these are the people i write about in the book. this knowledge comes despite the best actors of the kim family regime to keep it secret. for more than 50 years, ever since the end of the korean war, north korea has sealed off from the world size. the kim family regime has pursued an isolationist policy and it maintains an iron grip on information, access to which is very strictly controlled. to give just one example, every radio must be registered with the government and its dial must
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be fixed to the government run radio station. to enforce this rule, security police equipped with cruise, neighborhoods, trained to identify households were they of tinkered with the radio center tuning and to preempt foreign radio broadcasts. surveys of north koreans hiding in china showed that a high percentage listened to broadcast in north korea in defiance of the rule. and the motivation to leave was in part influenced by what they heard on those foreign radio broadcasts. people are hungry for information about the outside world. they must first go to china. they can't go south, strange as it may seem because it runs along the 38th parallel is
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despite its name to most militarized border in the world that it's impossible to get across unless you are a soldier who has been shown the safe route. only a few people make it out of north korea by going across the dmz. instead they go to china. in china, the north korean usually finds he has exchanged once circle for another. china's policy is to track down the north koreans in that country. arrest them and send them back to north kore, with a face imprisonment or the so-called crime of leaving our country. this chinese policy is both immoral and china's obligations under international treaties it is signed. nevertheless, some of the north koreans who are hiding in china, decided to risk a second escape out of china to save korea.
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no one can accomplish this feat on his own. some people can get out of north korea on their own and the hand of the rescuers rarely reaches into north korea itself, but if somebody wants to get out of china, they need help. the distances are too great and the challenge is there to hide for a north korea to do it on his own. this is where the new underground railroad comes in. like the original underground railroad in the pre-civil war american south, the new underground railroad is a network of safe houses in secret with across china. the operators are both human traffickers who are in it for the money and christians whose beliefs help them and their north korean brothers and sisters. thanks to the underground railroad, which has been operating for about 12 years, an increasing number of north koreans are reaching safety in
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the south and a few other countries. the explosion in the number of north koreans who are caught out in recent years is very striking. south korea keeps track of the north koreans to reach south korea. and let me share with you a couple of the numbers. in 1990, only nine north koreans were able to reach south korea appeared last year, 2700 -- [inaudible] north koreans reach safety in the south. so, the people who get out, have enough of them that they are educating us about the truth of life in north korea. there've been several books published and we now have a much better picture of what the truth of the existence is there. but the north korean refugees are performing a second equally
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important function. i do believe more important. they are hoping their own information starved homeland, just as the world now knows more about north koreans, north koreans still far more about the period. this is to thanks to the efforts of north koreans who have escaped. how did they do that? think a minute. an immigrant. with the first thing he wants to do? he wants to let his family back home know he's okay and tell them about his new life. before a north korean who wants to do that, it's next to impossible. you can't make a phone call to north korea. you can't send an e-mail or text message or facebook and you can't even mail a letter. so the exiles have created a black market in information. they hire chinese careerist across the border and deliver
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messages, or sometimes they deliver chinese cellphones to a north korean relatives, tell the relatives to go to an area near the border on a certain day at a certain hour, turn on the phone and receive a phone call from their relative who has escaped to a different country. in south korea, north korean exiles have formed corporations whose purpose is to get information in north korea. there are four radio stations run by north korean exiles fed broadcast to north korea. the kim family regime that creates the greatest, most prosperous nation on earth and they are the world's happiest being exposed for the lie that it is. north korea dictator, it can jump to after his father died,
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kim junco and understand the threat that information poses to this rule. one of his first acts after succeeding his father is to issue a shoot to kill among the korean border. anyone across the al overberg to china was to be stopped. there are also reports into north korea and relocating families of north koreans have escaped. they say he is moving some of them to the interior of the country where they'll be out of reach of the chinese careerist and the chinese cellphones were not buried. let me close with a quote from a north korean boy who escaped to china when he or she is 13 years old. i will refer of course to
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joseph. i purchased it and tell his story in my book. a couple of years ago when i was beginning to do the research on the book, i heard him with an address to north korea, the organization the teacher and found it, which help joseph escape from china. joseph told the people what you are doing changed my life and will eventually change north korea. i firmly believe in that statement. today, thanks to the information obtained from north koreans who have escaped, it's no longer possible to plead ignorance after the north korean people or the depredations of the totalitarian regime they suffer under, or to argue that things really aren't that bad in that
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country. a free north korea is not an impossible goal with the help of the north korean people themselves, but those who have escaped and is still in north korea. it could have been. thank you a match. [applause] >> thank you, melanie. the story you just told about the use of radios reminds me of a story that i was told a north korean refugee and escapee in south korea about seven years ago when he told me about his travails and how he ended up in one of these prison camps, for which he ultimately was able to escape. he told me that his family had been given a clandestine videotape of a soap opera, a south korean soap operas and they were watching at home on
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night and all of a sudden all the power in their town, not a very big town, but a town that the north korean security police had come into that town and decided the best way to identify who is violating the law on south korean television with the two kilobit power. they then came into the family's home, took cameras and hacked at the vcr that they had, pulled out the tape, without any electricity, saw that it was a south korean soap operas and took the entire family into a prison camp. one member of that family of the late escaped. to give a little bit of personal testimonies here, is our next speaker and i'll introduce both joseph and nature in at this point and then i'll ask each of them to speak and then after
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that will open the room to some questions. joseph came today as a 22-year-old american college student, studying international business and just recently received an award for a piece of writing he did in its class. in many respects a classic american college story. just as background is different. when he was 14 years old, he escaped from north korea. he hid in china alone for one year am done with the help of the underground railroad, was able to make his way to the united states consulate in shenyang in northeast china, where he was given sanctuary. he eventually made it to the united states in 2007 when he was 16 years old. for four years though, he had effectively been on his own, beginning at the age of 12 after his father starved to death.
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he lived as a coach i be, what we would call unless they wonder street urchin. the name and koran refers to fluttering sparrows. if only. when melanie asked him what his motivation was for fleeing north korea, he simply replied, i was hungry. joseph escape like so many other north korean refugees by risking his life as he walked clandestinely across the river into china. there he was stopped by a good samaritan who was very fortunate it wasn't a chinese official sending him back across the border. and the good samaritan said to him, you can get help. just go down the road a little bit and then the next village you'll find a church. joseph's response was to ask,
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what is the church? chose civil tell us a little bit about his story and then i'll ask adrian, who is currently director of the pegasus project, but was the cofounder of link, one of the most human rights organization to align with north koreans to speak. most famously in her weekly in a 2006, for the first north korean refugees to be granted refugee status in the united states. december 21st, it usury and, to a building fieldworkers unfixed north korean refugees for help to were taken into custody in beijing and then they were placed in prison just outside of shenyang after an interrogation. they pleaded with the united
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states officials in beijing to help them, to grant refugee status to these six north koreans and in what surely was not one of our finest moments, their pleas met with debt securities. eventually, due in part to the attention that alan and other journalists gave to this situation. the united states did intervene. there is quite a bit of international pressure. a jury in and coworkers were released after 10 days and eventually the north koreas were in fact granted safe passage by the chinese to south korea. but it's a chilling and heroic story. i think adrian and joseph were actually both in shenyang at the same time incarcerated or tab one for their protection, the other truly being incarcerated.
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but i don't believe they met at the same time. joseph, i'll ask you to speak first, talk about your story and then a dream. >> good afternoon, everyone. my academic counselor advised me to take speech class, but i wisely chose computer class instead, which i kind of regret. before i continue my speech, i would like to address special thanks to ms. melanie kirkpatrick. thanks so much for your interest in north korean human rights. i am very honored and humbled to stand before you to speak. because of your interest, i believe we really will make a difference. thank you so much. my name is joseph kim and i was
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born and raised in north korea until i was 16. with all my family constantly against poverty, i was always loved and cared for first because i was the only son and the youngest in the family. however, that kind of luxurious life is not reserved for me forever. when i was 13, my father died of starvation and my mom disappeared and my older sister went to china for money, but she never returned. i became a vulture or offend. it was a huge transition where i had to grow up overnight from almost spoilt child to survivor. i was begging on the street tirelessly. i lived like an animal. make daily life is very simple, but very hard.
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i find a piece of red from the trash. i did not have hope for the future and they did not have ambition. biomedical was to be full. for hungry, tired, politics are not relevant. after two year waiting for my sister to return, i finally decided to leave north korea. it was the biggest decision i have to make. first, it was risky. after all, it was still my country where i have friends from preschool to elementary school and do a silly place where i grew up with all kinds of memories, where i swam and where i played soccer with my friend. my escape was very successful.
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i'm thankful that god protected me during that time. while i was in china, i encountered an executive gerard are. because of their hardware, i was able to come to america successfully. my life has been changed and my lives of the world have been changed after it came to america. i don't starve anymore and more importantly, i live like a human being. i do have dreams that i have hopes. my life in america is close to heaven. my dream is one day that all north koreans will experience the life i have now. it is a big dream. i can do so later my tree in and become a unity, we will make this possible. when i was 12 years, my older sister and i went to the
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mountain to collect wood to cook and the house. my father couldn't join us because he stayed home because his strength was weakened by malnutrition. we left home at 5:00 a.m., but when we returned home it was almost midnight. we had to bring the wood right hand. by the time my sister and i finished collecting what, it was almost midnight. it was already dark. we were exhausted and i was afraid that could make it home. i saw my father walking towards us. i was so happy that he was with me, even though he could not help that much. because of my father was with us, our home seemed so much better. is there anyone who doubts that
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you are too weak to do anything? my answers now, you're you're not and you never were. my father was not strong, nor he had magic powers. but the fact, to participate in north korean human rights do not have to be strong or special. it's okay if you can't support financially and it's okay if you can't invest all your life and that's okay if you can think of ideas, but please, please do what you can do. if you can only pray, pray for them. if you can only cry, cry for them. but please, don't ever forget friends. even at this moment, they are tirelessly waiting for help. i hope and i believe the book
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"escape from north korea" will be used as a voice to connect the river from north korea to china and eventually to bring all of my friends to freedom over the land. thanks so much for coming out to listen to my story and our story. thank you so much. [applause] >> when i met joseph in china years ago, he didn't speak a word of english. this is actually very impressive. i don't think he needed that speech class as badly as he thinks he did. one thing or two shares of joseph briscoe to the united states, i've gone and purchased some books for him because i figured he had a lifetime of your education or propaganda and i figured you might want to know what the real story is that how korea got to were blessed with the the world was late, so we
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got in a bunch of history books and korean. and i asked him what books he might request. india asked me for shakespeare, which is very strange because he had would have no reason to us for shakespeare, but it turned be heard before he left north korea, which is impressive. the next day estimate to read the book to decide he read it three times that night. so i think that speaks a lot to chose his intellect and the extraordinary nature of the story. one challenge i was that when speaking about north korea is that i run out of adjectives to describe how bad things are. many of you who follow policy or human rights situations oftentimes get jaded numbers. another torture story, this other atrocity, it's very easy for us to write off bad things because we just assume that things are things that happened over there and many times they don't necessarily affect us. and also the challenge of north
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korea in particular are so bad in such a scale and scope that it sounds fake. it sounds like it's a lie. it just sounds ridiculous when fathomable. it's impossible to comprehend. or at korea's other things depend also talked about or more. we want to go down the list and bullet points of a number of human rights violations in bad things happening in that state can only be be here for hours. but it's been a challenge those of us who speak about north korea had when trying to articulate what the circumstances are like they are. i'll point out just a few things, just a beacon of the framework of us going on. alan is but does a great job of the things people face in the risk they face to get out of that situation. it's a very real situation, where they decide to put their life in their own hands to escape. when i first met joseph, he was very young and i guess we may wonder whether he was fully read the decision he was making, but
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if you decide to leave a shelter to seek freedom o-oscar, regardless what country you get to come you are very well you could be caught unaware or tortured or killed. so in order to drive someone to go through that much risk, whatever you escape from back home has to be pretty bad, extraordinarily bad, far worse than matured the scene. said north korea is that dean. it is that bad. at least 1 million if not 2 million starved to death in the 1990s when the government had access and to defeat its own people and. the north korea government has treated to some people not like any other modern state was. it's not fair in order to facilitate the well-being of the people or about two or three dozen of these in particularly right now about six or 7 million north koreans are in starvation levels. every are regularly clockwork in the regular food program and
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emergency signal into north koreans are about to die and north korea continues to spin up to three to $4 billion in nuclear test and missile tests when its people are starving. that by itself shows the priorities of the country. but mendicants to mass human rights violations. you get arrested if you listen to pop song or people get arrested because the condensation ring covered the dear leader's face. they have been fortunate because the escape countries to get food and housing. when i was in 2006, they have the actual head of that prison was ethnically korean and there's a lot of ethnic koreans in that region. so we talked quite a bit. nothing subversive it is not going to get in trouble. for one thing he shared with me that on mondays and thursdays, they get sent back to north
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korea, almost if not they are trash day. that's the day they send north koreans back until midday on boys in particular would back him. they would say, can you cut my hair? through his master that is because north korea has rules about how when what status he it has to be for male or female. you cannot have that out of the country, before long. timepieces to harass cat can't have a shot at going back and say gutbuster is there for a day and try to get food. i wasn't there for six months or year or two. everybody involved in any way a north korean nose was happening. their solution is as to how bad the regime is. dilution is a sense that we can't solve it. the dilution as we think this is an inevitable crisis that cannot be fixed in the right do anything or no ability to do anything about it. i think north korea is not just an issue for human rights.
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this is almost a thought: modern civilization. they any regard, it is a huge problem, not just for human rights, proliferation, debian d., biological weapons, counterfeiting, state-sponsored terrorism. i mean, this is a huge issue not just in the presidential election. , oecd countries, half of our allies and kick the can down the road. ..
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today everybody watching this on line or on c-span can go home and google and you can find concentration camps. joseph sat there and showed me the route he took to walk home from school everyday. the fact he can use it in 2012 means we have all grown evidence of what is happening. there's no excuse in terms of ignorance. i think when you look at korea and what south korea, the republic of korea has accomplished, the korean people and the korea in seoul, when unchanged can do extraordinary things. it was the 10th largest economy. incredible. look what korean-americans have accomplished in america. north korea is the part that never got that freedom. from the first half of the 20 century is old news for
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everybody. but for north koreans they're still stuck in that place. i think we have a special responsibility to try to fix it. when joseph first came to the united states after a few months being in china, and we took into a grocery store, these are things you don't think about. we took the grocery store. i don't know i if you remember o this but his jaw dropped when he got to the isles. rows and rows of yoga, serial. it's amazing how much we have here. he had his first strawberries. explain what a strawberry is a watch indeed it was an amazing experience. we took him to the zoo. they had a tirerama of dinosaurs. i had so much difficult lives much difficultly dimwitted dinosaur was when there's no context. pleasant illustrations but you take that kind of level of education and isolation from the outside world across the board,
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everything, you can imagine a nation that is crippled. not to mention the impact of having generations that were malnourished. they've had brain damage because they haven't it through properly for the first five years of their life. north korea's not just a problem for koreans. not just for a problem for people interest in human rights. it's a problem for everybody. many people have a special ability to weigh in on the state of the people whether now or later on. i would share jay's perspective on the part impact of sanctions and other approaches that has had measurable results with north korea. we had regular feedback from our own sources in the country that those things are working extremely effectively. can get into that more during the question and answer session but this is not a problem that local would. at some point i'll have a hard or soft land but at some point of people will be free. the question mark assembly people will need to die before
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we get to the point? the more we do now, the lower that number will be because there is no question at all in somewhat and a big way, it would be the issue for everyone in the region if not the world to deal with at some point. so i would just like to in by saying those of us that have the privilege of being born free or having earned our freedom are managed to somehow accidentally live in a free place, have a special responsibility to help those that are still not there. these people are the closest thing to just complete complacent in everything but even if they made to china they get such a traffic. 70%. they are often detained, arrested and sent back. we have stories about people having wires put through their noses or ears in order to have been sent back in mass. is easy to get jaded that it is that bad. we we could be her for hours. i think that points to not own a special responsibility also it's so precious and we're so
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grateful that folks have taken on this issue. i can point out myself, if folks like melanie and jerry had not raised the alarm and continue to push them even when many governments under the folks are pressuring. so with that i'd like to answer your question. i would like to thank everybody for coming out and melanie in particular for writing this extraordinary book. [applause] >> thank you both to joseph and to adrian. we like to open up the room now to questions. if you have a question just raise your hand. we will send one of the microphones around. lease wait until you have the microphone. you can address your question to anyone in particular or just for the question out and we will make sure it is stupid. so if anyone wants to start with questions. we will give jack -- >> melanie, who are the highest
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or the leaders in north korea who have left north korea and who defected, if i can use that word? and what have they told you about the nature of the leadership and potential divisions of leadership, and what have you gathered from that information? >> i interviewed a number of diplomats and officials who left, and also one military man who left. and the information, knowledge is very compartmentalized in north korea. so it's hard to get a big picture from any individual. the kim family regime, all of the people any good ideas or at the time that kim jong-il was still alive, and he was very
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much in command. there was an inner circle of probably, i think jr somebody mentioned 2000, maybe 3000 people who run the country. at most. those are really the super elite of the country. and beyond that, but those are the people, some of them might have access to the internet. some of them might be allowed to travel. but even then, it is something i did learn that surprised me, even than they are not fully trusted. a diplomat is sent abroad to a diplomatic posting is often required to leave one of his children behind within. he can take the rest of the family but one child stays back in north korea. and that's for the purpose of making sure that he doesn't effect. if he defects he knows that the
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price of this defection will be the life of the child. so i guess the big take away from that is the grip that this inner circle has on the lives, even of the people who run the place. >> waiting to be given microphone. >> would you mind if i give a quick response? highest level of defection from north korea was from a personal advisor to kim jong-il. he came away with an incredibly amount of information including more details about how many people really died during the family. i think you put the number over one and made close to 2 million people. he passed away a few years ago. when he defected, 70 households that were somewhat related to him, households, were all sent to concentration camp. kim jong-il took it very personally. several ambassadors including egypt with her a lot of arms trade to financial going on that have defected you to the united
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states. over all they all brought with him a lot of information. mallonee and jay both pointed out a number believe is about two to 3000. it's just a group of two to 3000 from the government and it's basically them against everybody else. >> thank you. >> melanie, i think it would be interesting for you to tell the audience, the general way in which you interviewed tens of scores of refugees, how they shared stories with you, sometimes with a great deal of apprehension, disclosure but if you just elaborate the process i whinge you went to some of the incident, which he secure these stories. >> thank you, jack.
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one of the things i learned early on, and it's not surprising is that talking about these stories is very difficult for many north koreans. it's painful to relive these memories. and i tried to do it in a slow way, to allow them to take the lead rather than me, kind of ghetto my "wall street journal" aggressive reporting skills. but one of the aspects of my book that i think is different from other things that have been written about north korea is that i do focus on the people who help them. i turn to them frequently to ask them to help me reach people, north koreans, who wouldn't be willing to share their stories. and because the rescuers would vouch for me, then the north koreans were willing, were
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willing to tell their stories as well. and i tried to double check things as best i could through interviewing two or more people who were involved in a similar incident. and so it was a very long process. although i want to tell one anecdote that was surprising to me. i interviewed two women from the very first group of refugees to come to the united states. and they have been in this country for four days. i met him in a hotel room in elizabeth, new jersey, and i was all prepared for them, you know, my set of questions and my theory of how best to establish rapport. and the two of them walked in, sat down, bowed, and took command of the situation. the first thing out of the mouth
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of the leader of the two was, after her bow, was let me thank the people of the united states and president george w. bush for welcoming me to america. and this was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted to say and was determined to tell me everything i wanted to know, and more. because she wanted americans to hear her story. >> thank you, melanie. >> thank you. melanie, thank you very much for helping provide -- after one of opportunity, and congratulations on your book. i'm really pleased because you are now shedding light on the issue of human rights in north korea. japan, not only japan but
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elsewhere have same problem of this human rights violation from dprk. as you may know, a number of japanese citizens were affected by the dprk over 40 years ago. and it still remains in the country. so there's still, one of the main issues between japan and dprk, along with the new mass destruction weapons and so forth, the strategic issues. so i have two questions. one is -- [inaudible] and the new regime of kim jong-un, do you see any changes for better, or improvement of the basic
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human right situation in north korea? and the second question is that -- the radio or the communications between escaped people and the families back home. as a matter of fact, the japanese families whose sons and daughters were affected by the dprk have exactly the same, which they want to convey their messages of their sons and daughters in north korea. a couple of the parents are trying hard to convey their methods for their sons and daughters in the dprk by adhering a television stations or international radio stations
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or whatever. they try to use every possible way to convey their family messages. but i'm not sure if they are successful or not. so do you have any advice how those waiting parents sent successfully their message to their children in dprk? >> i'll answer your second question first. i think getting messages to them is, it's impossible to know, at least at this point in time whether it will reach them. we don't know where the abductees are living or even if they're still alive. as you pointed out in many cases, it was 30 years ago that they were kidnapped from japan or elsewhere by the north korean regime. that said, we do know that information is getting into north korea much more effectively than ever before. it's especially people who are a little better off, such as in pyongyang which is a closed
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city, our recent information. and also those along the border with china. so i would say bombard the place with as much information as possible. and your first question, which is i think the key one, and i imagine joseph engaging and jay will have some comment on this as well. i see no evidence that kim jong-un is prepared to change north korea. his actions about his issue to kill orders, suggest to me is as determined as he dashed to his father and grandfather were to keep the north korean people under his. you know, there have been recent reports that he has a bride, that there was a picture of him with mickey mouse. i think that's all public
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relations. and the transport historically, especially kim jong-il, have been very good at public relations. speaking to the international media. i doubt that this place at all in north korea. even if north koreans know that kim jong-un has a wife can i do think it would make any difference to them. >> as far as the changes going on, i think i would agree with melanie that they're by and large cosmetic changes. i think they are effective in the sense that a lot of western media and policymakers that are somewhat on the nice side are taken in by and see stories in major publications talk about how kim jong-un and is white sandbag indicates reform change. he now allows pizza. pizza is no longer illegal in north korea. so i think, i would caution folks again being too easily
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bought them. i think there are changes happening but those are changes ally with regime change in leadership. i think it was leon panetta who said, and bob gates goes a we don't want to buy the same horse toys. we have been coming up on six or seven times now if a new president in south korea comes up later in office later issued come we don't want to see mrs. are buying into the same fa├žade for the sake of the parents of the progress at the cost of lives of the people spent i would like to make one other quick comment since the question at issue in japan. japan's outspoken and very strong comments on the abduction of its citizens are an example, your government has spoken out forcefully about the human abuses of the north korean
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regime, and our government could take a lesson from you on that. >> the one other point i would make him and i work very closely with your government, japan also had a special envoy for north korea human rights. we worked very closely together for a number of years. given that it is highly unlikely at any point soon that the regime is going to fall because of any kind of external force, and it also doesn't seem a parent, although one never knows when something like this could unravel, that the elite, that is effectively supporting the regime right now, is going to basically dump him. and who knows what would emerge. the best chance for change, whether it comes short term or on a slightly longer term, is from within the north korean community itself.
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and the more like that gets shipped in north korea, the more likely that is to emerge. already we have evidence that a significant number of north koreans are getting access to outside information, radio, occasional tv, some computer access, something that simply didn't exist at all 10 years ago. and so to the extent that all of the neighboring countries, including the japanese government, can start to facilitate more radio transmission into north korea, there are a lot of organizations that are willing to support the kind of broadcasts from north korean refugees who can really shed light from the outside and tell their brothers and sisters in north korea what's really happening. and i think that's an area where japanese government can take some initiative. south korean government has come a long way in this area over the
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last decade, and i applaud both of them. >> kind of take a panelist prerogative here to ask joseph a question? joseph, when you were living in north korea, did you have access to any foreign information? what did you know about america, for example? >> for example, like obviously i had access limited except soviet union and china. i'm sorry, what was -- >> did you hear any foreign radio broadcasts or see any foreign movies or read any foreign books? >> not that i remember. and i doubt that there was any recent that i could read. so like, then for example, like
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when i have to decide whether come out, it was a very hard decision also. i had no other information about america, other than such. first one offered from south korean missionary, i want to come to america, my fonts was very immediate, i said no. and she was quite surprised and she told me that this is, you know, one of about a dozen french you might have. so she said you might want to go and go home and think about it. so the first thing that i tried research what is america, i tried tv channels. but since i didn't understand any chinese, i mean, i didn't know whether that was american movie or, i mean germany movie.
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but it's like i just looked for 10 or 12 tv shows, you know, western people. so i ended up watching a movie called -- i don't know. there's no possibility that i know the title of the move because it was all chinese. but main character was rambo. >> very active depiction of the united states. >> so in the movie, he -- [inaudible] graft, whether wind or drink and grabbed one and he just eats. that was my first exposure of western culture i guess. and the things that i found i
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was like -- [inaudible] amount of dishes by hand. there's a lot of dishes to wash. so yeah, that was my first exposure to american culture. >> thank you. i think we have time for one final question. sure. weight. [inaudible] >> in 2002, i the chance to visit north korea in connection with, they built a nuclear plant, electric plant for north korea. i was the head of this so i went there. when a site east side of korea
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-- when i saw east side of korea, almost untouched for six years. was really different from pyongyang. and pyongyang is also very behind but it's like more showcase for showing to outside for national people. my question is, i heard also from other source that as of now there are a lot of interest in hong kong in cars, and we tried to not expand in 2002, and can you tell us what kind of change for last 10 years and with increased number of cell phones and internet users and in cars, and that they will make more, you know, turmoil within those korea. and then like, probably shorten
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the north korea, you know, -- [inaudible] >> the increase in automobiles is not as much of an issue for the government because you need with an eagle and domestic passport similar to russia, any permission to go to the town next-door. it's not like you can leave anyway if you're on foot, bicycle or car. you're still contain. the cell phone issue is intriguing because you think will be counterintuitive. for those of you who are not aware, north korea's -- [inaudible] they have 3g phone service is probably better than we are getting here in manhattan, unfortunately. they were at a half-million subscribers earlier this year and i think you hit 1,000,007 which is a huge number. most of them are centered in the province. but i actually am aware of the technical makeup of that network and its built in a way that ensures the government can stay
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in control. and actually they have calculated, it's better for them to about folks of cell phones and monitor all those conversations and not to be aware of those conversations at all. goes on for also not allowed to reach outside countries so they can't call china or united states. they tried to make money with that venture to control their citizens even more. and facilitate communications among their regime folks in military and government folks quickly. and so i think at the present it is not necessarily a tool for the first of activity. if the mechanisms are particularly affordable there may very well be a day when the phone network is turned against them. >> thank you very much. i want to thank the hudson institute. i want to thank ken weinstein for organizing this event today. i especially want to thank our presenters, joseph, you're really a hero and inspiration to all of us here. [applause]
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>> adrian, likewise. it's been a front-line freedom fighter here. and as we know, the pursuit of freedom i guess second only to the pursuit of quenching one's appetite is really a natural human info. and hearing the stories that melanie has written about in her book really reminds all of us, that should remind all of us how fortunate we are here in the united states to live in a land blessed with so much freedom. but with that freedom comes a responsibility. and melanie has outlined for us our responsibility to become part of this cause to fight for human rights for north koreans. when i was working for president bush several years ago, he gave me, and several other members of his staff, a book you just read about north korea called -- i


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